Amazing tree in downtown Key West

11 06 2009

I’m fairly certain that a Ficus aurea, or strangler fig, has taken over this tree (or group of trees) in downtown Key West. I did some research online and learned that they are common throughout the Caribbean and tropical Americas. You’ll find excellent and very detailed information about strangler figs with illustrative photos on this site: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/ploct99.htm

In the first photo, Michael serves as my scale reference. Doesn’t the second photo look like a scene out of a Harry Potter movie? If I have misidentified this unusual tree, enlighten me!

THIS JUST IN…Artist Val Webb posted this comment:

“It has been many years since I visited Key West, but I seem to recall that the tree in question is a banyan tree. There is a large one on the Thomas Edison property there.”

I looked up “banyan tree” and learned that a banyan is a fig tree that starts its life as an epiphyte when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree. The seeds germinate and send down roots toward the ground, and may envelope part of the host tree…giving them the name of “strangler fig.” So apparently banyan is another name for it. Thanks for the input, Val!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

StranglerFig

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4 responses

11 06 2009
valwebb

It has been many years since I visited Key West, but i seem to recall that the tree in question is a banyan tree. There is a large one on the Thomas Edison property there.

4 08 2011
JoAnn Griffin Schlicker

Thanks so much. I took a picture of one in Key West and could not remember what kind of tree it was.

1 01 2012
Kevin

The is a large banyan tree at the Thomas Edison house but that is in Ft Myers several hours northwest of Key West.

16 01 2012
bob

The Key West Lighthouse museum also has a large banyan tree.

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